In this chapter, the idea of the ideational in the material developed by ethnologist Ulrike Langbein for analysing inheritance practices in the late twentieth century will be applied as a fundamental cultural idea to the property arrangements that were made upon marriages between nobles during the early modern period. Marriage contracts prove to be extremely interesting sources when they are analysed with this double approach of material basis and ideational meaning. They accompanied and structured a highly significant juncture in families’ management of their assets. At first glance, marriage contracts appear to focus on specifying the relevant assets and modalities of their exchange. But when interpreted against the backdrop of the living environment and the cultural ideas of the people involved, such agreements reveal themselves to have been the basis for complex and conflict-prone negotiations that aimed to maintain social continuity even as new familial entities were formed and built. The safeguarding and enhancement of the honour of all participants – including, or perhaps especially, that of women – were, despite the patrilineal orientation and alongside the priority of material protection, the most important concern. This “negotiated honour” is manifested in the marriage contracts on the basis of the nobility’s own set of values, including its specific ideas of justice and family strategies structured along gender and generational lines. 1